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Snacking in the closet: a new setback


2 1/2 years into my healing, and I have come upon a new setback. Sometimes I feel as though I am my own worst enemy. I

n the early days of the affair discovery, one of the questions that I had for my husband was “what kinds of things did you say to her?”, “Did you ever say anything to her that expressed arousal, interest?”, “Did you ever compliment her, did you tell her she was good in bed, did you compliment her on her appearance?” These are things I had wanted to know, because they indicate to me a closeness, and an intimacy that wouldn’t exist if the relationship was “just for sex”. I guess I reasoned that if my husband was having sex with his mistress, “just for sex”, that their communications would be pretty benign, simply requests for hookups, no emotion, no attachment, no compliments, no emotional sustaining of the other person. I guess that finding out if there was any sort of emotional connection was important to me, as indicated a deeper affair, and I want to know how deep this had run.

Asking my husband those questions in the early days was fruitless, because he claimed he could not remember. I know that men and women are different, that women seek details, and that men rarely recall them. This is truly frustrating for the betrayed spouse who desperately wants to know details, and accuracies, you simply can’t get her answers. In an attempt to hide the relationship, my husband never maintained any of his old emails. Sure, there were a few here and there, mostly benign, mostly relating to work questions, nothing that was sultry, sexy, or a red flag. I’ve seen those, I’d read those, but that wasn’t what I was looking for. My husband, however, was unable to produce the emails that were sent that indicated something more. He had been very good at hiding those, even going so far as to create a fake email, and an alias. She, on the other hand, kept everything. Possibly because she wanted to use it as retaliation later, or simply because, as a woman, she kept things for sentimental reasons. Regardless of the reason, she had everything in her possession that I needed.

Last year, around this time, we were getting ready to meet the other woman in court. She had accused my husband of wrongful dismissal, and he had countered her claim with proof that she had been inappropriate in her work, had been warned, and had violated policies of their workplace which made her termination not only necessary, But justified. In attempts to make herself look valuable As an employee, and as a person in my husband’s life, she chose to print all of the emails where he had expressed affection for her, admiration for her work, genuine concern for her well-being, etc. In parallel, she also printed all of those emails which made my husband looks like the bad guy. The sex starved, horny, wayward husband, seeking out cheap thrills, and a good time with and “innocent” woman. She picked her emails carefully, not attaching many emails that were from her, directed to my husband, but rather mostly emails that were composed by him, directed towards her. Now, I am a smart person, and I realize that this is a biased and skewed representation of the emails that were exchanged. I am sure there are many emails where she expressed horniness, desire, flirtation, but she would not have attached those as they would have compromised the picture she was trying to paint of herself. I know that, I get that, I understand. However, when I came across this binder of emails one year ago, desperate for more information because my Husband was unable to provide it for me, I looked. I skimmed the pages, I flipped through them quickly, afraid of getting caught. It’s funny, my husband breaks his marriage vows, cheats another woman, sleeps with her in hotel rooms, goes behind my back, creates fake emails, creates fake meetings disguised as a work event, and I felt like the one sneaking around. Afraid of being caught, I spent no more than one minute flipping through the emails, looking for buzzwords, my eyes picking up random sentences here and there. I read some things I wasn’t prepared to see. I read some things that hurt me deeply. I didn’t, however, read them all.

Over the last year, I’ve had many instances where I have wondered what else was said. My husband, of course, unable to tell me, and possibly tired of the questions, let me to wonder if I should reopen the binder. Each time I wanted to, I reminded myself that it wasn’t a good idea, and decided not to go searching. Until yesterday.

In the process of filling out an application for my eldest child, I went looking for his birth certificate in order to provide proof of his age. My husband keeps all these important documents and filing cabinet in our home, which is not locked, which we share. Unintentionally, I came across the binder. At that moment, I became like those food addicts that come across a stash of no – no foods, And scroll themselves away in a closet to stuff their faces with something they know is doing them harm, but basically can’t help themselves. I became that person. I set my husband’s desk for close to an hour, and read every single page of the binders in detail. Every text message, every email. Every. Single. One. Some of them were familiar, having read them a year ago. I knew already what my eyes would see, but I couldn’t help myself. I figure that the pain that I’ve been through is so intense, that adding a few more details here and there won’t really matter. What I didn’t expect, with the resurrection of the pain, the humiliation, and the feelings of inadequacy that reading those emails brought to me. It’s one thing to know that your husband has been with another woman. It’s entirely another thing to read the transcript.

I became privy to some of my husband’s deepest darkest thoughts, that he had relayed only to this other woman. Some of the sentences which are burned, and etched into my mind include:

“I can’t wait to be inside you”

“I feel satisfied with you in so many ways, socially, and sexually. You do all the right things, knowing exactly what to do with me to make me feel good. I feel so relaxed when I’m with you”

“I told my wife that she has nothing to worry about. She had read some of our emails, and is on high alert for the possibility of infidelity. I did my best to reassure her that she has nothing to worry about.”

“I’m thinking about you as I work. I’m having a hard time walking around, if you know what I mean”

“I wish I could wake up beside you in the morning, and have a little dose of you first thing in the morning. That would be a little hard to explain”

“I would love to watch you sleep. You are so rarely still, it would be a rare treat”

“I like my women blonde, blue-eyed, and hot. Know anyone like that?”

“I am open to trying new things also. I’m willing to try anything that interests you. Just name it”

“You and I will go on another vacation, and have a lot more fun”

“I just feel so relaxed when I’m with you. You bring me a piece that I can’t put into words. I just feel so good when we’re together”

“I feel like this relationship is becoming more serious. It’s like we have both navigated away from the shore, and into treacherous waters. Personally, I welcome that, and look forward to where this may lead us. I don’t know where this relationship is going, and I understand the consequences, and I want to go there with you”.

There is a sharp knife blade wedged deep in my heart. Those words came from my husband. Those were forgive into another woman. At some point during my husband’s affair, he contemplated leaving me. At one point during my husband’s affair, he was willing to risk throwing away his life with me and his children, for this woman who made him feel so “comfortable”

My husband is a subscriber to this blog, and is going to read this post. My fears that he will become very upset with me for having read these emails. Not because I was snooping, or because I didn’t have the right to read them. But because I did something that caused me great emotional turmoil, that he will have seen is unnecessary. Why do something that causes yourself pain? Why do something that causes you harm? Well, when you’ve already experienced the depths of pain that I’ve experienced, and you live in the world that he has created for you out of this pain and harm, it really isn’t much of a stretch.

On a positive note, I no longer have the curiosity looming over my head. I can lay that to rest. It’s now simply a matter of working through the resurrected feelings come as a result of reading this content. I think what I need, is to go to the binder with my husband, and select the passages that break my heart into 1 million pieces. I need him to see what he has said, and the impact it has on me. He has avoided reading these emails, not wanting to go back to that place, possibly not wanting to face what you had said and done. I’m sure the last thing he wants to do Is resurrect those emails with me present. However, as part of our complete honesty, and his complete empathy for where I stand, I feel it is necessary for him to read those passages aloud, and see the great despair that they bring.

So, even after all this time, even after so many months of happiness, and calamity, setbacks can and do happen. It doesn’t mean we’re headed down a slippery slope. It doesn’t mean we’re going backwards. It’s just another bump in the road on the way to a hopefully brighter future. Now, if only I could stop the nausea and desire to vomit.

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Support Groups


I discovered, throughout my healing process, that there are no support groups in my city for affair recovery.   I really think there ought to be.  When I was first looking for support, I went online.  I read everything I could find on affairs, mistresses, motives for infidelity, healing, supports, stories that were similar to mine…..anything.  What I really was missing was the opportunity to sit face to face with other women and talk about our experiences, to share, to cry, to scream, to relate, to understand, to support.  Where are they?

There are meetup groups, through the meetup.com service, but I guess I was looking for something a little more formal, something with a moderator who has experience helping people navigate through this.  It isn’t enough to think you know what this is like.  The truth is that unless you’ve been through this, you really have NO idea, and most people who think that they are being helpful, just don’t realize how crass and superficial their comments can seem sometimes.  I don’t need or want that from a group leader, who has merely volunteered for it.  I want someone with experience.  Someone who can give me hope.  Someone who can lead the discussion in a way that leaves us feeling renewed afterwards, or at least exhausted from the emotional process of release that we so desperately need.

I am tempted to start one.  I am sure I am not alone in feeling one is necessary.

Just a typical Sunday morning at my house, minus the police report


Woke up this morning feeling hopeless about our situation.  Numerous lawyers and advice, all focusing their energies on resolving the family law side of the issue, and ensuring that the gold digging mistress receives her appropriate tabled amount of child support.  Countless drafts of custody and support agreements, none of which have been accepted by her side of the table because they require her to be accountable.  Instead, she wants to receive more money, and have no accountability for how she uses the money.  Good luck there sweetheart.

So, I wake up feeling hopeless that this little piece of shit is ever going to be out of my life (she pops her ugly little face up on a regular basis).  I’d expressed to my husband how hopeless it feels, and he reassures me that it won’t always be like this.  “Yes it will”.

The phone rang this morning at 8:30.  It was a police constable from the local police station.  Apparently they had tried to reach me on August 29th to deliver this message, but I wasn’t at home.  I was told that the mistress had launched a police report, naming me, and claiming that I have been engaged in ongoing harassment of her over the internet.  “Hmmmm, interesting”, I thought, in light of the fact that I have made no mention of her by name on this blog, and have certainly made no mention of her elsewhere either.  Her name, in my home, is like Lord Voldemort in “Harry Potter”.  She is, essentially, “she who will not be named”.  Her name tastes bad in my mouth, so I don’t utter it, let alone waste my time creating harassing internet fodder about her.

This is just yet another example of how she is trying to remain in our lives and connected to my husband by raising shit and claiming abuse at our hands.  It isn’t enough that she is claiming wrongful dismissal against my husband, claiming that he fired her because she was pregnant (those weren’t his grounds for dismissal and she was clearly told that in writing yet thought a suit might bring her money and so she seeks $100K in damages).  Again, good luck sweetheart.

She has told her lawyers over and over again how she is being harassed by me, my husband, and my husband’s colleagues, and yet she has never once provided proof of said harassment.   Instead, it garnishes her support from her counsel, making her seem like the poor, hard-done-by woman who was forced to have sex with her boss (yeah, right), and then became pregnant, fired and thrown to the street.  Likely story.

So now I have a file on record at the police station.  Personally, I think I’ve had enough of this shit.  My mother lays on her deathbed, a decline which was precipitated by this woman’s behaviour, and we are preparing to lose her at any moment.  This is, I daresay, the LAST thing I need right now.

It’s raining betrayal folks, part two


In the aftermath of the lawyer situation, I’d been feeling pretty beaten up.  The last week had been spent with my husband as the middle man between two people who can’t get along.  He tried to play Switzerland as much as possible, fearing that losing his lawyer now, without another in our back pocket, would be messy.  To say that I was tired and emotionally drained was an understatement.   What follows is part two of the betrayal, except this time the lawyer has been removed from the story.  This time, it was an inside job.

My mother talks about me behind my back. She always has, although she will feign innocence if accused, and then quickly call me out as paranoid and tell me “life isn’t always about you”.  She always finds some way of putting it back on me.  I became aware of an email that my aunt sent to my mother in the days following a family visit that we had all had at my mother’s bedside.  My aunt, I should mention, lives in another country, and has seen me less than 10 times since she moved away in the 70’s.  To say that she knows very little of me would be accurate indeed.  In the email that my aunt sent to my mother, she expressed concern for me.  She had read on Facebook something I’d written about it being “Martini Monday”, and is worried that I might have a drinking problem.  I think that is a bit of a stretch!  She also expressed concern that I’d mentioned on Facebook that I’d been hit on by a Garbageman last week while wearing a new skirt. I joked that it must have been the skirt, and joked that this all transpired by 9:30am and I felt like I’d accomplished so much.  My comments were obviously facetious, and I was poking fun at the situation.  My aunt expressed concern that I am an insecure woman who needs male attention in order to feel complete.  Finally, I guess she wasn’t satisfied with my degree of sadness over my mother’s impending death.  She said that she was worried that my husband must have me on prescription drugs to dull my emotions in light of the affair.  Yes, my aunt had the information about the affair leaked to her from that family friend I mentioned in my previous post.  So now, armed with this ‘knowledge’, she is worried about me, thinks I am a closet drunk who craves male attention and is on prescription meds. It is laughable!  I decided that it made me uncomfortable that I was being talked about, and that her reasons for being concerned were false.   I felt I ought to reassure her that this was not the case, and set her poor mind at ease.

I sent my aunt an email, reassuring her that since I’d become privy to the email that she sent my mother, that I wanted to reassure her that my Facebook comments are jokes with my friends, not to be taken seriously, I do not have a drinking problem, I am not on prescription meds (although something tells me I should be after this week), and that she has no cause for concern.  At the end of that email, I also added that I was aware that my personal circumstances (the affair) were now known to her and asked her to keep those details confidential for me.

The email I received back was scathing.  Guilty people lash out when they are caught in their behaviour.   She estranged me in her email, telling me that I am killing my mother faster than her disease, that she feels sorry for me that I am so selfish, and stated that she does not like the person that I am.  She then said goodbye and wished me good luck in my life.  That was it.  I should also mention that she CC’d my brother on it, so he is now aware of my circumstances to.  So much for her keeping it quiet, she now outed it to my brother.

Now, I know where this all comes from.  I’ve mentioned it before that my mother and I have a less than stellar relationship.  She has never understood me or supported me emotionally.  She has always favoured my older brother, and when I’ve expressed concern about it, she pulled the “you are paranoid” card, and “it is not always about you” card.  She carries those at the top of her deck so that they are handy.  She has carefully maligned me to everyone she knows and orchestrated disfavour for me among her friends and close family members.  My mother doesn’t know who I am, or what I am about, but if you asked her, she’d claim to be the expert.  She believes that I am: selfish, rigid, inflexible, self-centered, egotistical, bitchy….you get the idea.  Her comments to friends over the years have slowly penetrated, and her martyr seeds of “woe is me, you won’t believe what my selfish daughter has done to me this time” have started to take root in people’s minds.  If asked, her friends would, even though many of them have never met me, say “oh her daugher is selfish and absorbed only with herself…that poor woman, she tried to hard to raise her right and look what this witch of a daughter does to her”.  I do detect cold chills from people at times who are friends of my mothers and are meeting me for the first time. I now understand why – they have preconceived ideas about who I am long before they ever meet me. She has made it her mission, in her need to see herself as a martyr and surround herself with support, even if it means maligning her daughter to do it.

So after sending this scathing email to me in which my aunt disowns me, she emailed my mother to let her know about what had happened and what she had sent to me.  My mother’s response to her sister in the wake of sending a hurtful email to her daughter?   Praise.

Reframing your fairy tale


I was never one of those girls who put a pillow case on my head pretending it was a veil.  I didn’t have my wedding planned by the time I was 12, and I didn’t make believe the walk down the aisle the way some girls do.  I did, admittedly, enjoy  making Barbie kiss Ken, and putting them into compromising positions 😉

I think most girls, and later women, have an idea of the happy ending they wish to have to their story.  They stumble through relationship after relationship, gradually learning the qualities that they deem important, until they one day find their Prince Charming and he asks her to get married.

I thought I found my Prince Charming.   I think as we all start out in a marriage, we all think we found our Prince.  But life moves, and priorities shift, and children arrive, demanding the attention you once reserved for your spousal relationship, and people start feeling tugged on and deprived.   All we can do is hope that our marriage can weather the storms that invariably come, because we have so much invested in it.

But what happens when Prince Charming didn’t read the book and follow the instructions?  What happens when Prince Charming takes actions befitting a villain in the story?  How is that story supposed to end?  How is the main character supposed to find her true happiness when it seems the Prince really isn’t a prince after all, but a fallible guy who made a grave error?  We aren’t really given any direction from Disney there. No one writes a story like that.  So what happens when your story gets written that way?

This isn’t the  marriage I’d hoped for.  I didn’t want to be rescuing my marriage, I wanted to be thriving in it.  I want to wake up in the morning, glance over at the man I’ve devoted myself to and feel complete and utter security.  I want to have the confidence in us that we are loyal to each other and to US.  I want to know that we are on the same page, that we share completely with one another, and that we both desire a close, loving and honest relationship.  I want that, but I no longer feel that I have that, and I find myself having to reframe the fairy tale for myself.

Life is dynamic.  Things rarely remain the same.  Ebbs and Flows happen, taking us for a ride.  Perhaps too, our expectations of what we felt we ‘ought’ to have need to shift as well.  I am a creature of habit and comfort, and frankly I want things back the way they were, and I don’t want this mess.  But, in order to find true happiness again, perhaps I need to abandon the old story, in favour of an updated one?

Will I be living with the pain of this every day for the rest of my life?  It sounds like a jail sentence.  I’m not sure I am up to that, as I don’t think I would be able to give 50 more years of this.  I am riding the hope that the pain WON’T feel like this forever – that it too will roll with the tide and keep changing, lessening over time.  I hope.

My husband just asked me outright why I want to be with him, and that perhaps I am just afraid of the alternative of not being with him.  There is certainly truth to that, but I would like to think that I love him and us enough to give this a try.  I am trying.  Some days, though, I just don’t feel I am doing a good job of it.   If there were no children, I would have asked him to leave a year ago when he told me.  I had less invested at that point, and walking away meant little or no baggage compared to today.  With children in the mix, I feel a sense of duty and responsibility as a mother to provide my children with the best upbringing possible, a secure and happy home.  We don’t fight much, we get along well….is that enough?   I want them to know and feel a two parent family.   Besides, I promised my eldest years ago when he discovered the concept of divorce that “mommy and daddy are different from all those other parents, we won’t ever get a divorce”.   I need to try and keep that promise.   I don’t want to be a statistic.

Some days are better than others.  This weekend has been a pensive one.  Lots of triggers and reminders of the affair, and a lot of doubts about my husband’s 100% honesty about the details.

Some of the things I wonder about:

1. What kind of emails/texts did he send her?   I have a gist of what she said to him, but what overtures did he make?
2. Did he say anything to her that would make me shudder?
3. Did he care about her in any way other than simply a vessel to fulfill his sexual needs?   He says it was nothing emotional, but then I hear him say that he offered her a job because he didn’t want her to feel used.  That, to me, shows a caring and a compassion.  His explanation is that he offered her that job so that he could look at himself in the mirror and know that he isn’t a complete heel, but is there anything more to that?

I’ve been told that I may never have all of the answers, and that is unnerving to me.  I need answers.  I crave answers.  I research and FIND answers.  To leave something open and unfinished means to never close the wound completely.

The question is whether I can ever be satisfied without knowing EVERYTHING, and can I reframe my story in such a way that although it isn’t the life I’d dreamed, can it nonetheless be something wonderful, even though it is different?

When a loss sits on the horizon


My mother has, what some might call, a fragile and ill-disposed constitution.  For as long as I can remember, my mother has been fragile in health.  As a child, she contracted Rheumatic Fever, an affliction which kept her in bed for the greater part of a year.  At the age of 5, as she watched her friends learn to ride bikes, she peered out of her window in awe, wishing she too could participate.  She never did learn to ride a bike.

At the age of 50, after she watched her mother pass away, she was diagnosed with a fatal genetic lung disease which has no cure.  She knew that her life would be shortened, and that she would likely succumb to some effect of the lung disease, either pneumonia or possibly heart failure from the stress on her heart from the lung compromise.  She knew it was a downhill course, she just didn’t know when the steep course would begin.  None of us did.

For the most part, her illness has had its ups and downs.  Its good days and its bad days.  From month to month, we see improvement or decline, and what is lost one month, is sometimes regained in the following months with increased vigour, stamina and interest.  Throughout 2009, it was an up and down with mostly ups.  She was regaining her stamina and was taking more of an interest in spending quality time with the grandkids as she felt she could tolerate the energy demands that three small boys require.

In April 2010, all of that started to change.

My mother received an email in March 2010 from an alias email account, informing her of my husband’s affair, and how her daughter would likely “need support” from her family.  It was also peppered with derogatory commentary about how the affair was understandable because “we all know what she is like” (that ‘she’ is me, and it should be noted that she doesn’t know me so that is an uninformed comment).  Shocked and concerned, my mother emailed me asking if something was up.  Given the circumstances, we were forced to spill the beans, and let her in on what was an intensely private set of circumstances.  The next week was replete with phone calls, suggestions, advice, sorrow and pain as she watched her little girl suffer through something that, unfortunately, she also was far too familiar with.  I had hoped to spare her the knowledge, but these things are out of your hands when the mistress takes matters into her own hands and decides to play with the lives of others for sport.

In the months that followed, her health gradually declined, and has been doing so ever since.  Hospitalizations, weeks in bed, hours of driving into the city to see the leading specialists in the field, and recommendations to not expose herself to cold viruses and other illnesses that would further compromise her lungs.  This meant limiting her exposure to her grandchildren.  We had no visit at Christmas this year, no visits since.  In the last year, my children have seen their grandparents fewer than the fingers on one hand.

Some people in this world deal with stress externally – they get focused on the problem, develop solutions and execute a plan.  Others internalize the stress, become sickly and experience physical symptoms.  My mother has always been in the latter camp, which is why one might say she has a “weak constitution”.  She does not deal well with stress.  She never has.

In the last few months, fluid has been building up in her lungs, compromising her ability to breathe.  She has had litres of fluid removed. this last tap yielding three litres.  I was informed this week, that she likely won’t survive the summer.  This is, of course, simply an estimate, and she may rebound, although it is unlikely given the gravity of her decline.  She has lost a gross amount of weight, and it is evident she is dropping fast.

I can’t help but think that it isn’t coincidence that her decline started the month following the disclosure of the affair.  A mistresses desire to inflict as much pain on me and my husband as she could, translated into playing with the emotions of frail seniors by informing them of the details – details that should never have been shared.  Playing G-d made her feel entitled once again to do as she pleased with the lives of others.

In the wake of the affair, as I anticipate one of the largest losses I can imagine, I can’t help but think of the mistress and hate her intensely for trying so hard to steal my husband from me, and now quite possibly taking my mother as well.

Bipolar


Some days, I feel bipolar.  I wake up feeling great, and within minutes, I feel like crap.  I have good days, and I have bad days.  I think all of us who go through this do, so I don’t feel abnormal about it, but I do notice the oscillations.  I wish I lived on a more even keel.  I am a big lover of predictability, and I hate that I can’t even predict myself some days.

Today I find myself feeling more tired than usual.  I am supposed to be getting work done, and I can’t bring myself to focus and concentrate on anything.  I would prefer to sit here and type out my feelings.  Yes, it means I will be behind tomorrow, but then maybe that work will help me to not dwell on the sadness that I still feel.

I am sad, I suspect, because I am feeling disconnected from my husband.  We haven’t been able to spend much quality time together lately, and we’ve had some disagreements that we haven’t properly repaired and swept away.  We’ve had some tense and frustrated moments, and although they were few, I find those little things add up for me, and I need to feel that I’ve closed the door on even those little things.  I feel like we’ve drifted a little from the close place we are in after therapy.  We missed therapy for 2 weeks and it makes such a difference for me.  Our therapist is able to find ways to navigate our discussions in such a way that we slow down.  I find we are always so quick to prove a point, or to defend our position.  I find myself defensive and then feeling attacked and unloved, and then I withdraw.  It is my pattern, and now I know it.  I feel it coming on, and I still don’t quite know how to stop it.  It is comfortable and familiar…it’s what I do.  Anything else feels awkward.

Strangely, what also feels awkward is the acknowledgement to my husband that I feel disconnected.  It is a catch 22.  I feel disconnected, and therefore I don’t feel connected enough to feel comfortable mentioning the fact that I feel disconnected, which leads to more….disconnection.  The good thing is that he reads these posts the moment they are posted, so I at least I know of one way to tell him how I feel when I feel awkward….blog it!  What did couples do before they could communicate using technology?  Maybe they actually spoke to each other?  LOL!  Let’s see how long it takes him to come up from the basement and mention this post…

We sooooo need a babysitter.  We need date nights.  We need alone time.  We need time to focus on ourselves and our marriage and our friendship.  We don’t have that, and it sucks.

If our parents were at all reliable. we would do what I see so many other friends doing – calling their moms to take the kids for the weekend and taking off.  I will never take a vacation without my kids.  I will never have parents willing to help us in that way.   Why are we so lucky to have been blessed with such uninvolved and unsupportive parents in light of this tragedy in our lives?  Why does everyone else seem so much more connected to their families than I am?   I often blame my parents but maybe it is me.

I oscillate between wishing the mistress could stumble across this blog and read for herself what a trash whore I think she is, and enjoying the fact that I can write without doing so FOR HER.

All of this back and forth makes me feel bipolar.  It makes me feel unstable.  It makes me feel dizzy.  I need a good cry.  I am off to my steam-shower to sit in my cloud.  It is what I do when I feel sad and alone.

Haunted


I’ve been told that I am suffering with a variant of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Given the flashbacks, the physical reactions that I feel to the memories, or the images that run through my head, I believe it.

Learning that your spouse has been unfaithful and that you have been purposefully deceived by the person you trusted most in this world is traumatic, to say the least.  It shakes you to your core, and causes you to reevaluate all of your beliefs, and to question your own judgements.  Your confidence in your relationship, your family, and yourself are all questioned.

Learning the details of what happened serve the immediate “need to know”, and prevents you from imagining scenarios and circumstances that simply never took place, and replacing those self-created “fantasies” with factual data.  While useful in one sense, it is also excrutiatingly painful to hear your spouse described what he did with his mistress, when, and how.  It allows you to create a mental movie in your mind of the events, and gives your mind ammunition with which to flash back to these movies at seemingly random moments throughout your day.

Seemingly innocent things can act as a trigger, reminding you in a split second of your suffering, the affair, the loss.  Looking at the couch that I sat on when he told me.  Where I sat.  Where he sat.  That does it for me.  I can’t sit on that sofa now without thinking of it.  As such, I’ve tucked it into the living room that we rarely use.

Pulling out the journal that I kept for the first few months brings me right back just by looking at the cover.  I will reread the entries now and again, not to remind myself of the pain, but to see how far I’ve come.

One of my greatest triggers is music.  It is sad for me, because music is something that I love.  I consider myself quite musical, having studied music as a child and adolescent, it has a very emotional connection for me.  Music can lift my mood, make me sad, etc.  It has a powerful force for me.  I listen to music for a great part of my day.  Whether I am in the car (I never drive without music playing), or at my computer doing work (also have iTunes playing in the background), music is always with me in some way.  My musical memory for songs is also vast.  I can remember lyrics and elements to songs from my childhood and adolescence like they were yesterday, even if I haven’t heard the song for a decade or more.  It brings me right back to the days when it was a hit on the radio, and in a flash I am that teenage girl sitting on the steps of her highschool watching the boy she pined over throw a football with his friends, wondering what she could do to be noticed.  The feelings flood back immediately, and I am transported right back there.

In the wake of the affair, I spent a great deal of time in profound sadness.  I would drive to and from work, songs playing on the radio, so desperately sad.  I now connect those songs on the radio to the way I was feeling, and hearing them now puts me right back in that place.   Songs I used to enjoy, not carry with them a deep feeling of sadness and despair. I remember vividly the feelings I had, the thoughts running through my mind, or even which intersection I was at the last time I heard it.  Hit songs that dominate the airwaves wax and wane, and soon enough, a hit song goes into a remission.  It disappears for a while.  And then it resurfaces.  When songs from that time come back on the radio, it is immensely painful.

It isn’t only the songs that were current after the affair was disclosed, but also songs that I enjoyed that were popular while he was having his affair.  I can remember sitting in my car, singing along to a song, doing my infamous seat-dancing that I am prone to do when a good song comes on.  I now look back at those moments, and realize that at the time that this particular song was popular, and I was sitting in my car bopping to the tune, my husband was lying to me, deceiving me, and sleeping with another woman.   I can no longer listen to songs from that YEAR without saying to myself “He was having an affair when I used to enjoy this song”, and it strips the shine off of the enjoyment of the song.  I will still sing along to it, and enjoy it, but it will always be there, imprinted and attached forever to it, like a tag.

The worst part about songs, I find, is the lyrics.  I am a romantic at heart, and often relate the lyrics in a song to my own life.  Love songs with their professions of deep caring or turmoil when there is a fight strike a chord with me.  I often find myself thinking: “I know how that feels!”.  I think this happens to a lot of people, and songwriters want their listeners to relate to, and appreciate what they are writing about.  It is kind of like this blog, and how I want my readers to connect with what I am writing, and if a betrayed woman finds this blog, I want her to be able to relate to it, and find comfort in it.   Songs of a broken heart now have a whole new meaning.  Songs of loss and despair ring true in a way I’d never been familiar with before.

Songs about infidelity almost kill me.  3 months into the affair discovery, the song “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri  was released onto iTunes, following its debut as a song on “So you think you can dance”.  It used to take the breath out of me. Now that it is being played many months later on the radio, puts it right in my face.   But, the good thing is that I no longer relate  the lyrics in the same way….I don’t want my husband out of my life.  I now attach these lyrics to her.  She is the one with the heart of stone

Jar of Hearts Video

I know i can’t take one more step towards you
cause all thats waiting is regret
don’t you know i’m not your ghost anymore
you lost the love i loved the most

i learned to live, half alive
and now you want me one more time

who do you think you are?
runnin’ ’round leaving scars
collecting a jar of hearts
tearing love apart
you’re gonna catch a cold
from the ice inside your soul
don’t come back for me
who do you think you are?

i hear you’re asking all around
if i am anywhere to be found
but i have grown too strong
to ever fall back in your arms

ive learned to live, half alive
and now you want me one more time

who do you think you are?
runnin’ ’round leaving scars
collecting a jar of hearts
and tearing love apart
you’re gonna catch a cold
from the ice inside your soul
don’t come back for me
who do you think you are?

it took so long just to feel alright
remember how to put back the light in my eyes
i wish i had missed the first time that we kissed
cause you broke all your promises
and now you’re back
you don’t get to get me back

who do you think you are?
running around leaving scars
collecting a jar of hearts
and tearing love apart
you’re gonna catch a cold
from the ice inside your soul
so don’t come back for me
dont come back at all

x2

who do you think you are?
who do you think you are?
who do you think you are?

As I struggled with the decision with whether to stay in my marriage, I was torn in a way that I’d never experienced.  Staying felt like I was weak. Like I would allow myself to be humiliated, deceived, taken for a ride, and would come back for more.  It seemed like a reward allowing him to stay, allowing him to have his children, his wife, and his life.  I wanted him to hurt.  I wanted him to lose like I had.  I wanted him to be desperate for me.  Asking him to leave meant losing the best friend I’ve ever had.  It meant my children losing access to their father.  It meant losing my partner. I wasn’t prepared for more loss.  I worried that my friends would consider me weak for staying, or judge me.  But I knew where my heart belonged, and made a commitment to do my best to make it work, regardless of what others would say.

I’ve always loved the song “Heaven helps the man (I’m Free)” by Kenny Loggins.  It is the song that plays while the credits roll in Footloose.  Not only do I still love the song, but the lyrics to the song have special meaning for me now.

Heaven Helps the Man (I’m Free) Video

Looking into your eyes I know I’m right
If there’s anything worth my love it’s worth a fight

We only get one chance
But nothing ties our hands
You’re what I want
Listen to me
Nothing I want
Is out of my reach

Chorus
(I’M FREE)
HEAVEN HELPS THE MAN who fights his fear
Love’s the only thing that keeps me here
You’re the reason that I’m hanging on
My heart’s staying where my heart belongs
(I’M FREE)

Running away will never make me free
And nothing we sign is any kind of guarantee
But I wanna hold you now
And I won’t hold you down

I’m shaking the past
Making my breaks
Taking control
If that’s what it takes

Chorus

I long for a time when a simple ride in the car, a hug with my husband, a show on TV won’t transport me into emotional hell.  For now, it is my reality.  I know in time it will let up.   I just can’t wish any more than I do that it comes soon.

Over the hump and happy once more


I was going to call this post “A state of affairs” to talk about the state of my marriage today, but then realized it was a play on the word ‘affair’ and while funny, perhaps not appropriate.  So I erased it, and tried to come up with a post title that would illuminate feeling like we are over the worst part and on the other side – over the hump.  Then I realized that was also a play on words, being over the hump.  Whose hump?  His hump with the mistress?  No.  I will never be over that.  I will never be OVER the fact that he willingly made a choice to sleep with another woman for the greater part of a year, but what I will do is change the way I look at it, and how I look at myself because of it.

I realize that up until now, the blog has been pretty dramatic.  Posts about how I found out, the red flags leading up to it, how she seduced my husband, how she is a stalking psychopath, etc.  I realize that a lot of anger comes out, and can appear as though I am stuck in a very angry place. I want to correct that.  I wanted to write this blog in an orderly fashion, starting at the beginning and making my way through that first year.  But, that is because I am a type A personality, and everything has to make sense, be perfect, laid out in order, etc…. I don’t want this to be that way.  I want this to be a place where I can let that go, and just express myself in whatever order makes me feel better.

I am happy.  I am the happiest I have been for an entire year.  I have been through some very turbulent ups and downs, and it has been pretty rocky at times.  This past winter was probably the hardest point for both of us.  Last spring, when this whole affair came to light, I was in a great state of denial.   It was really hard to believe that the affair happened, considering I am married to a good man. We went through the hysterical bonding that caused us to connect sexually very frequently for a long period of time.  We were connecting sexually which had the side effect of making me feel more connected to my husband, and that I was claiming him back.  Soon, it was summer, and I had family fun to look forward to with vacations, kids out of school, day trips, weekend getaways, etc.  We decided to sell our house and buy a new home in August.  Part of the reason we wanted to move was because we were outgrowing our previous home.  We’d bought it when we had only one child, and now had three, so it was getting tight.  The other reason we wanted to move is because the mistress knew where we lived.  We’d seen a car like hers circling the neighbourhood, and we wouldn’t put it past her to drive by and see what we are up to.  We saw a new house as a fresh start.  The sadness started in late August, right after we moved in.  I had nothing else to “look forward to”.   Summer was coming to a close, the kids were gearing up to go back to school, and the novelty of moving was now behind us.   Deep sadness set in, and it was the start of a very bleak 4 month period that I hope I never revisit.

With ongoing counselling, we are learning a lot about ourselves as individuals, and as a couple, how we throw each other off, how our interrelation and  how we manage our own feelings sets the other person into their own tailspin.  We are learning how to ask for what we need, and how to lovingly provide it to our partner.  It has been a very beneficial undertaking, and one we both look forward to every week.  When we have weeks where someone misunderstands the other, or we find ourselves angry to the point where we simply don’t know how to fix it, we use our appointment as an open forum to pick apart what happened, and learn how to do that for ourselves.

What we’ve come to realize is that we weren’t the “perfect couple” that we thought we were.  Perhaps every couple believes they are the perfect couple, or impermeable to this kind of thing.  We did.  We would go out with other couples, and later remark at how disconnected they appeared to be from one another.  No physical contact, no playful compliments passed back and forth, no flirting, no thoughtful gestures – just co-existence.  We used to talk about how lucky we were to be together, to have found the one true person who made US perfect.  We were disillusioned.  Although we very much love one another, and genuinely LIKE one another, we really didn’t communicate well, and we are learning now how to do that.  It is a hard habit to break, and we fall in often, but we are learning how to get out, and grab onto the other person when things get rocky – something we both are not accustomed to doing.

I think most of my happiness of late comes from the fact that the mistress hasn’t been causing any trouble for us lately.  Yes, she did strike around Valentine’s day, and yes it did cause me to gain back the 8 pounds I had just lost, but since then, nothing remarkable to report.  Perhaps she has settled into mommy-hood and we are no longer her focus, perhaps she has come to realize that all of this fighting, and pushing, and debate saps the energy right out of you.  Maybe she has realized that she has no legal footing to demand more child support, and needs to simply accept that things are the way they are.  It is what it is.  Maybe she has gotten over my husband, or the very idea of being with him.  Although I am sure she still thinks we are unhappy, and that he strayed  because we are not solid, I no longer care as much what she thinks.  I am no longer desperate for her to know.  It is enough for US to know.  I don’t need her approval.  I don’t need her blessing.  I no longer want her head.  I just want US, and I have that.

You plant beans…you get beans


This is an expression that has been used in my home for as long as I can remember.  When a child exhibits a behaviour pattern that is just like that of a relative, my parents would exclaim, “you plant beans….you get beans”.   The implication, of course, being that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Now, what I am about to talk about actually isn’t genetics…it is learned behaviours picked up through associating and learning from other people.  It is the argument that scientists call “Nature vs Nurture”.  Do you behave the way that you do because of genetic imprinting, or because of learning it from your environment?

In my childhood home, feelings were not often discussed.  It was almost as if it were a crime to have them.  My mother, despite claiming to be the most understanding, caring, warm and compassionate person in the world, coils away from feelings especially when they are possibly the result of something she may have done.  Her defensiveness was a roadblock to her taking the time to attend to the feelings of others.  Now I should mention that I think she CAN be caring, warm, compassionate, and understanding….to friends and acquaintances – when her ego isn’t at stake.  My father is allergic to emotion.  The emotions he conveys are happiness and anger.  He is pretty good at those two. But, he is very poor at identifying the emotions of others, and certainly doesn’t want to talk about them.

I learned at an early age that it was futile to approach my parents with any emotionally laden information.  Hard to do when you are a highly emotive person.  I also learned that if anyone was going to solve my problems, or attend to my emotional needs, it was going to be me.  I became a highly effective person, capable of solving my own issues, resourceful, efficient, capable.   What this has created, in me, is a person who isn’t used to asking for help, who isn’t comfortable admitting that I can’t fix it myself, and who relies solely on themselves.  I feel like a failure if I need to ask for help.  It feels like a defeat.  Now, I should mention that I don’t apply those same rules to others, and welcome them to come to me when they need help…I am efficient and effective, remember?

In a marriage, when two people come together to mutually support one another, a certain reliance on the other is to be expected.  An attachment forms between you and your spouse, and you come to rely on their for emotional support.  I had never learned to do that very well, I guess, and neither had my husband.  He was raised in a very chaotic environment as an only child.  His father was more consumed with himself – a narcissist.  His mother was unable to attend to emotions, and is one of those “Sweep it under the rug” folks who downplays everything with a smile, and “It will be OK” attitude.  Not very helpful when you have a real problem and require real guidance.  So, we both learned to rely on ourselves.  It was a very functional way to be during childhood and adolescence, but not terribly functional within a marriage.  We would soon realize that.   Our ability to communicate our problems was very limited, and there is no question that if my husband felt as though he could come to me for help, he would have turned towards me, and not away from me.   This was one of those things that shouldn’t have been tackled alone.  He wasn’t prepared, he didn’t see the forest for the trees, and became entangled in something he didn’t even see coming.   It was, in essence, a recipe for disaster.

With parents who didn’t meet my basic emotional needs, and seemed disinterested in general, I grew up feeling unloved.  The attachment I had to my parents was unstable, and I could never be certain that they would come through for me.  As a child, I remember being sent to an overnight camp for a month at the age of 8.  I was homesick, and didn’t want to go.  But, my older brother was going, seemed to love it, and they thought it was a good opportunity.  I was shipped away. I was there for three years before I hit my breaking point, and asked to come home mid-session.  My parents were disappointed, and I suspected that my grandmother, the financier, was upset at the loss she incurred as a result.  A few years later, it was determined that I should attend a private school for higher education.  My grandmother was big on that.  At the age of 13, I started writing entrance exams for the school she had selected for me. and I was accepted.  Once again, I was being sent away.  I never did attend, after putting my foot down and refusing.  I can be pretty stubborn…it’s a self protective thing.

Through therapy, I’ve come to realize that my childhood experiences have created in me a deep fear of abandonment.  I don’t want to be sent away to camp.  I don’t want to be sent away to private school.  I don’t want to be sent away.  I desperately craved an attachment to something permanent and reliable, and I felt unwanted.  That fear has followed me into adulthood, and creeps up from time to time, when I feel vulnerable, when my husband is angry at me, when I think he is going to “send me away” – or leave me.  Obviously, you can see the deep nerve the learning of his affair caused.  He’d abandoned me.  He’d walked away from me.  He’d separated from me.  Our attachment was unstable.  It was like my childhood fears all coming to the surface again.  The one person I’d managed to make a solid attachment to, felt completely loved by, completely secure with – had abandoned me too.  It hurt deeper than I could ever have imagined.  I wanted to recoil into a little ball, and I think I probably did.  Until my self-reliance, effective, reliant self kicked in – and I started researching infidelity online, desperately searching for information on how to cope, what it meant, and if I’d ever be ‘normal’ again.

Your past plays a huge role in your present, and your future.  Who you are today is directly the result of experiences that helped shape and mold you.  Hopefully, those experiences have resulted in positive adaptations and coping strategies, and hopefully you feel loved and supported.  For all of those positive experiences, unfortunately, we all have something that has damaged us inside and that we’ve had to adapt to, work around, grow in spite of.  Some of us have more of those than others.  It’s a matter of taking what you have, learning the most about yourself from the inside out, so that you can work with it, and create the best life for yourself.

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